May it please you, My Lords.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has come into existence, by virtue of Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which relinquishes the exercise of judicial power from the House of Lords, the upper house of English Parliament. The Supreme Court began to operate from 1st October 2009.

Previously, final appeal in criminal and civil cases from English and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will lay in the House of Lords, (save for criminal appeal from Scotland). Cases which reach the House of Lords will be heard by judicial committee, consists of peers (lords) which ordinarily do not participate in legislative debate. 

Every peer (including the judges) who sits in the House of Lords will be conferred the peerage by letter of patent from the Queen herself. Judges in the House of Lords are styled as Lord of Appeal in Ordinary or commonly referred to as Law Lord.

Initially, upon departure of the Law Lords to their new home at the Supreme Court, the new judges who were not a member of the House of Lords will not hold title as the peer does.This happens when Sir John Dyson was elevated to the Supreme Court, as he remained as Sir John. This however changes when the Queen, on 12 December 2010, issues a a warrant declaring that every Justice of the Supreme Court of United Kingdom  be conferred honorific title, as the gentleman will be styled as "Lord" or "Lady" for female judges, thus Sir John Dyson is now Lord Dyson. The wife of the Justices will be described as "Lady". 

Justices of The Supreme Court of United Kingdom

*During my student years, cases decided by the House of Lords are the highest authority a student can ever have and hold, even in a Commonwealth county like Malaysia, where the decisions are revered and looked upon with full of respect. Names like Lord Denning, Lord Atkin, Lord Bingham, Lord Keith, of Kinkel will be in the exam papers with the fullest hope of impressing if not scaring our lecturers with the answers. The Constitutional Reform does give huge shock to me, just like Lord Hope of Craighead observed on 21st of July 2009 in the House of Lords, that "the House will be losing part of itself". "Why give up something so valuable? " His Lordship further asked. To this, i must nod.


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